Patches of Godlight

Posted by admin in October 1st, 2012
Published in faith, Lithuania, obedience

In our apartment building here in Vilnius we are required to clean the common areas/entry areas of our building every third month. There’s a list on the door as you leave the building reminding all the tenants which month is their month to clean. Welcome to the cooperative neighborhood of a former Soviet State. September was our month.

It’s not that I mind this duty so much, it’s more of a hassle than anything else. Daryl and I do clean the area together, sweeping, dusting and mopping. We also shake the welcome mats and clean off the sidewalk leading up to the building. But to be perfectly honest, it’s not my favorite thing to do. Once I just half-heartedly swept and didn’t even mop! There are times when it is our turn that we take a paper towel and spot clean. Not really the right way to do this job. Argh! (Not the pirate argh, more like the ugh argh).

But recently Colossians 3:23 kept rolling around in my head, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Not just when you get paid? Not just when people are watching? Not just when you feel like it? Not just stuff you’re qualified to do? WHATEVER…hmmm…that makes me a bit uncomfortable.

Then I read this story by Os Guinness. In a nation with the highest suicide rate in the world (yes, Lithuania) I realized that what I do is more important than ever—even cleaning the building hallways.

“Patches of Godlight” from Os Guinnesss’ book, The Call:

“I have heard of many reasons why people step back from the verge of suicide, but the one that has meant the most to my family is also the most unusual—the fascination of seeing work well done.

“The young woman was eighteen years old, with two small children, and evidently vivacious, talented, and beautiful. But she was also orphaned, penniless, completely alone, away from home, and recently widowed in a duel that rocked her country and drove her into voluntary exile.

“So Jane Lucretia D’Esterre could be forgiven for her dark thoughts as she pondered the waters of the little river in Ecclefechan, Scotland. Pain ran through every fiber of her being. Despair filled her horizon. Death beckoned her with an offer of peace as alluring as the still depths of the water in front of her.

“The year was 1815. Dueling was still legal in England and Ireland. Jane Lucretia first heard of the duel that shattered her life when friends carried her dying husband into the house.

“On the day Jane D’Esterre gazed into the dark depths of the river, for some reason, she looked up and saw a young plowman setting to work in a field on the other bank of the river. He was whistling hymns; he was about her age but quite oblivious to her and to anything but his work. Meticulous, absorbed, skilled, he displayed such care in his work that the newly turned rows of earth looked as finely executed as the paint strokes on an artist’s canvas.

“Despite herself Jane Lucretia was fascinated. Slowly she was drawn into the plowman’s care until admiration for him turned into wonder and wonder into rebuke. What was she doing collapsing into self-pity? How could she be so wrapped up in herself when two small children were dependent on her? Rebuked and braced, she got up, returned home saved from suicide and reinvigorated by seeing the simple work of a young farmer well-done.

“I said earlier that such a reason was unusual. I also said that of all the reasons I know it meant the most to my family. The explanation is simple: Jane D’Esterre was my great-great-grandmother.

“A few weeks after this near brush with death, she came to faith. A few years later she met and married my great-great-grandfather John Grattan Guinness.

“If it had not been for the young, meticulous plowman, the tragedy of the dueling husband would have been followed by the tragedy of the duelist’s widow. She had been taken by work done in a special and careful way.

“My great-great-grandmother was unusual for several reasons—including the fact that she conscientiously prayed for her descendants down through a dozen generations. Ours is a heritage of faith for which I am deeply grateful.”

I seriously doubt doing a good job on the hallway will save anyone’s life, but still I am told in Scripture, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” I’d like to think that patches of God-light will shine through my life even when no one is watching. Peace.

6 users Responded In This Post

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532. Irina_M said,
October 1st, 2012 at 6:55 am

Thank you! So touching, so human.

533. margaret nichols said,
October 1st, 2012 at 11:30 am

thank you for shining your light in the darkness of the classroom too!!


534. Geri Henderson said,
October 2nd, 2012 at 5:51 am

Terry, what a beautiful story and what a wonderful reminder. Thank you my friend!

535. Texas Sister said,
October 3rd, 2012 at 8:25 am

I like this simple but important story.

541. Angela Kulpa said,
October 27th, 2012 at 12:33 pm

I want to share this on my facebook – is that OK?
So much of our lives IS the mundane stuff we do that can, without our knowledge, have a huge impact on someone else.
I am reminded of a story a woman shared with me at Bible Study. She was at a very low place in her life – she decided to go to church. Surely, she thought, at church she would feel loved and accepted. Instead no one talked to her, no one smiled at her – they were busy with their Sunday morning. But right before she left the church (in her mind – FOR GOOD) a woman came over to her and ask her if it was ok if she gave her a hug. Conversation ensued and from that small gesture of kindness, this woman is now walking with the Lord, comes regularly to church and Bible Study and is praying for her husband and wayward son to come to the Lord.
What will be the end of this story?

32446. Robbie said,
February 10th, 2017 at 10:59 pm

Teri . . . hey friend DO look for your “God Light” in your ‘Tunnel of Darkness’. We both know it IS there!! See you on the ‘board’ Blessings!

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